COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – An elite list of 10 student-athletes has been announced as finalists for Tennessee Tech University's 2013 Outstanding Male Athlete Award, with the winner to be announced Sunday (June 30).
The TTU Awards Committee has named three members each from the baseball and football teams, two from basketball, and one each from the tennis and cross country squads.
Criteria for the award are based solely on the athletic accomplishments of each student-athlete during 2012-13. The 10 finalists, listed in alphabetical order, are:
Syrym Abdukhalikov, Senior, Almaty, Kazakhstan,
In just two seasons, Syrym Abdukhalikov wrote his name throughout the Tennessee Tech men’s tennis record books, leading the Golden Eagles to back-to-back unbeaten marks and a 17-0 record in Ohio Valley Conference regular season matches while manning the No. 1 singles and doubles positions. This spring, he was named the OVC Player of the Year, leading Tech to a 9-0 record within the league. Individually, the native of Almaty, Kazakhstan, posted a flawless 9-0 record against OVC opponents during the regular season and was 10-0 for the year against OVC foes, including one win in the tournament, finishing his career on a 10-match winning streak. In doubles play, he teamed with sophomore Alejandro Augusto for an identical 9-0 record against the league. He finished with a 14-2 record in singles play during the dual match season. He was named first-team all-OVC and was named the OVC Player of the Week three consecutive times. His .708 winning percentage in singles matches this spring ranks seventh all-time in Tech history, and his .680 overall winning percentage for the year ranks 10th. For his two-year career, he went 32-19 in singles play and his .627 career winning percentage ranks as the eighth-best in Tech history. His two-year combined career mark of 60-39 gives him a .606 winning percentage, which ranks sixth in school history.
Tristan Archer, Senior, Kingsport, Tenn., Baseball
A four-year starter, Tristan Archer spent much of this season rewriting the Tennessee Tech record books and firmly cementing a place among the all-time greats in Tech history. Archer wrapped up his incredible career owning three Tech career records including wins (23), starts (55), and innings pitched (323.2). Archer also finished his four seasons at Tech ranking second all-time in strikeouts with 273 and third in K/walk ratio with a 2.81 mark. On the year, Archer broke his career-high in wins, leading the Golden Eagles with nine wins in 2013, ranking second in the Ohio Valley Conference. The nine victories tied for third most in a single season in Golden Eagle history. His 97 strikeouts this season ranked second in the OVC and tied for fourth most in a single season in Tech history. He finished the season with a 4.22 K/walk ratio, second best all-time for a TTU player. Archer’s 97.0 innings pitched ranked first in the OVC and third most in a single season among Tech players. His 15 starts also tied for the all-time team high in a single year. He finished the season with three 10+ strikeout performances, including his first career complete-game shutout over SIUE. The performance led to the senior garnering his fourth career OVC Pitcher of the Week honor. A member of the 2010 OVC all-Freshman team, Archer was also named OVC Player of the Week by College Sports Madness this season as well as College Sports Madness’ OVC Pitcher of the Year. He earned all-OVC first team honors this season while helping lead the Tech squad to the most wins in team history and a 40-17 record. The team has also set an OVC and program record for conference wins in a season with 24.
Matthew Bishop, Junior, Morristown, Tenn., Cross Country
Matthew finished first on the team in three meets during the cross country season, and was either second or third on the squad in the other meets. He has run in all 20 meets during the past three years. He posted his career-best 8K time while leading the Golden Eagles at the 2012 OVC Championships, finishing 36th overall with a time of time of 26:19. He was also the team’s top performer at the Huntsville and Vanderbilt races.
Jud Dillard, Senior, Riverdale, Ga.,
Jud posted arguably his best season as a Golden Eagle in 2012-13, leading the team in points while also finishing second in the OVC with 19.3 points per game. He also led the Tech team in rebounding, pulling down 7.8 per contest. Dillard recorded 10 double-doubles this season, first on the team and second in the league. After four years as Golden Eagle, Dillard found his name among the best in school history in several categories. He ranked sixth on the all-time Tech scoring list, pouring in over 1,700 points. He finished seventh all-time in rebounding, collecting over 800 boards in nearly 3,500 minutes of action. He also tied for fourth in career games played, appearing in 123 contests while making 79 starts. Dillard’s numbers were so good, that he currently ranks as the highest rebounding guard in program history as well as the third-highest scoring guard. He received numerous honors during his time on the floor for Tech, including 2011 OVC all-tournament team honors, 2012 all-OVC first-team, and 2013 all-OVC second-team. He was also selected as OVC Freshman of the Week three times and OVC Player of the Week twice.
Will Johnson, Senior, Nashville, Tenn., Football
Will Johnson returned from a serious, season-ending injury in 2011 to be among conference and team leaders in defense during the 2012 season. Starting all 11 games for the Golden Eagles in his final season, Johnson ranked third on the team in total tackles with 83, and first on the squad in passes defended with six. He led the team in solo tackles with 37 and added 46 assisted stops. He also had one tackle-for-loss, one fumble caused and one fumble recovered. He managed double-figures tackles in three games and posted eight or more stops in six games. His season-high of 13 tackles came in Tech’s win over North Greenville. He also had 11 against Southeast Missouri and 10 against Eastern Kentucky. At the conclusion of the season Johnson was named as one of four permanent team captains for the 2012 campaign and claimed a couple of the team’s top honors. He was named the Most Valuable Defensive Player, and also won the Tony Stone Bumble Bee Award as the Most Valuable Defensive Back.
Tre Lamb, Junior, Calhoun, Ga., Football
Despite missing the final four games of the season due to injury, Tre Lamb was still chosen as the winner of the team’s Most Valuable Offensive Player Award. Lamb was on course to shatter nearly every school passing and total offense record before injuries hampered his play in the middle of the season and sidelined him for the final four games. He already set more than 20 school standards in his final two seasons, this year passing for 1,872 yards and 17 touchdowns in eight games. He finished with 45 career TD passes and more than 5,000 passing yards. He continued to be a vocal presence on the sidelines, aiding his replacement and providing assistance wherever needed. At the conclusion of the year, Lamb was chosen as a permanent team captain. Lamb appeared in 33 games in his career and piled up 5,632 yards of total offense, including 5,301 passing yards. He threw for 45 touchdowns and rushed for another nine, accounting for 54 trips into the end zone. He completed 60.8 percent of his career passes and finished with a quarterback rating of 140.3.
Daniel Miles, Junior, Pascagoula, Miss.,
In just his first season as member of the Golden Eagles, Daniel Miles has proven to be a difference maker at third base. The junior ranked second on the squad with a .337 batting average, collecting 67 hits in 53 games this season. Twenty-six of those hits have gone for extra bases, including 11 doubles, three triples and 12 home runs. His .603 slugging percentage ranked second on the team and third in the Ohio Valley Conference. He also finished in the top five in the league in RBI (53) and home runs. Miles put together one of the best single-game performances in team history this season, hammering three home runs at Austin Peay. All three dingers came in consecutive innings as the junior slugger recorded six RBI in the contest. His weekend performance against the Governors led to his first of two adidas OVC Player of the Week awards as well as two Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week honors. Miles struck out just 20 times on the year and walked 21 times to a tune of a .411 on base percentage. He earned all-OVC first team honors this season while helping lead the Tech squad to the most wins in team history and a 40-17 record. The team has also set an OVC and program record for conference wins in a season with 24.
Dennis Ogbe, Junior, Munich, Germany, Basketball
Dennis posted a true breakout season this year, more than tripling both his offensive and defensive output from his sophomore year. He finished second on the Golden Eagle squad in both points (10.8) and rebounds (5.4). Ogbe led the OVC in field goal percentage, ranking as the only player in the league to shoot over 60 percent with a .613 mark. He also led all Tech players in 3-point percentage, sinking over 40 percent from downtown this season. He finished with 28 blocks on the year, second most on the team. Ogbe’s performance on the court only got better as the season went on as the junior averaged 12.4 points and 5.9 rebounds in conference games. Ogbe was honored at the conclusion of the sason when he was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team.
Da’Rick Rogers , Junior, Calhoun, Ga., Football
In just one season on the Golden Eagle roster, Da’Rick set school records on his way to earning second-team all-OVC honors as one of the most dangerous wide receivers in the nation. He finished the year among OVC leaders and topping Tech with 61 catches for 8093 yards and 10 touchdowns. His 61 catches ranks as the third-most in school history and his 893 yards is the fourth-highest single-season in the Tech record book. The 10 touchdown catches tied the school mark, also held by Tim Benford (twice), Larry Shipp and Derek Lee. Against Southeast Missouri, he established a pair of school records when he hauled in 18 passes for 303 yards. Following the season, Rogers was signed by the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent. He was co-winner of the team’s 2012 Most Valuable Receiver Award along with Cody Matthews. He was also chosen for the Elite Receiver Award by the College Football Performance Awards.
Zach Stephens, Junior, Hixson, Tenn., Baseball
Zach Stephens came into the 2013 season with huge expectations after being named Ohio Valley Conference Preseason co-Player of the Year, Preseason All-OVC first-team, Preseason All-America third-team by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America honorable mention by CollegeBaseballInsider.com. The junior did a great job of tempering those expectations by leading the Golden Eagles in runs scored (59), hits (77), home runs (15), RBI (71), walks (38), on base percentage (.437), and slugging percentage (.616). His single season was among the best overall in Tech history as he ranked in the top 10 in single season rankings in at-bats (229), hits, runs scored, home runs, RBI, and walks. His 71 RBI lead the OVC and was tied for the second most in a single year in Tech history. He finished second in the league with 15 home runs. He also finished in the top five in the OVC in slugging percentage, runs, total bases, and walks. The junior slugger earned a solid .336 batting average and improved dramatically on the defensive side of the ball, owning a .994 fielding percentage at first base. Stephens ranked third in the nation in RBI per game, driving in 1.25 runners each contest. His 0.26 home runs per game rate placed him 14th in Division I baseball. He earned adidas OVC Player of the Week earlier this season as well as OVC Player of the Week by College Sports Madness. For the second consecutive year, Stephens earned all-OVC second team honors. In just three seasons, Stephens has already made on impact on the Tech record books, pasting his names among the best hitters to don a Golden Eagle uniform. His 43 career long balls already ranks second on the all-time home runs list, just 8 behind former Tech slugger A.J. Kirby-Jones. He also ranks second for career RBI, racking up 172 so far in his career. Stephens already ranks among the top 10 hitters in Tech history as his 216 hits are good enough for fourth. He is also among the top 10 in career doubles (seventh with 43), slugging percentage (seventh with a .616 mark), total bases (second with 394), runs scored (ninth with 136), at-bats (eighth with 640), and walks (ninth with 88). He earned all-OVC first team honors this season while helping lead the Tech squad to the most wins in team history and a 40-17 record. The team has also set an OVC and program record for conference wins in a season with 24.
The Outstanding Male Athlete Award was established in 1994, and 21 winners have been selected in the previous 19 years, including two years with co-winners. The previous winners are:
1994 - Mike Jones (Football)
1995 - Greg Bibb (Basketball)
1996 - Michael Penix (Football)
1997 - Mark Maberry (Baseball)
1998 - Andre Caballero (Football)
1999 - Branon Vaughn (Football)
2000 - Branon Vaughn (Football)
2001 - Chad Evitts (Football)
2002 - Grant Swallows (Football)
2003 - Casey Benjamin (Baseball)
2004 - Willie Jenkins (Basketball)
2005 - Willie Jenkins (Basketball)
and Frank Omiyale (Football)
2006 - Scott Stallings (Golf)
2007 - Scott Stallings (Golf)
2008 - Larry Shipp (Football)
2009 - A.J. Kirby-Jones (Baseball)
2010 – A.J. Kirby Jones (Baseball)
and Chad Oberacker (Baseball)
2011 - Zac Swansey (Basketball)
2012 – Tim Benford (Football)